I’m sharing a detailed beginner’s guide to painting furniture. Painting is a low cost way to update your wood furniture quickly!
Over the last few years, I’ve painted a lot of furniture! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a furniture painting expert, but I do feel like I’ve learned a lot through the process of painting most of our oak furniture and cabinets. I couldn’t afford to buy all new furniture after we did our home remodel, so painting our old wood furniture was a low-cost way to update it.
This is one of my favorite painting furniture projects – our master bedroom dresser. I love how it turned out! Painting all of the dark oak furniture in our bedroom really lightened up our room.
A Beginner’s Guide To Painting Furniture
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The most important thing that I’ve learned about painting furniture is this – the tools and supplies you use for painting furniture make a big difference in the quality of your finished painting project!
If you’re a beginner at painting furniture, using the correct painting tools and supplies will make your job so much easier, and will give you a much better end result.
Over the years, I’ve figured out which painting tools and supplies work best with the furniture paint that I’m using for each project. I have two different types of paint that I like to use – Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint and Pittsburgh Paints Breakthrough paint.
These paints are very different from each other. The Advance paint is thick and takes a long time to dry (16 hours). The Breakthrough paint is a thinner paint and only takes 2 hours to dry. Because these two paints are so different, I’ve found that I need different types of paint rollers for each one. Each of the paint rollers is listed below.
I’ve divided my favorite tools & supplies for painting furniture into two lists. The first is what you’ll need to prep your furniture for painting, and the second is a list of tools and supplies for the actual priming and painting of your furniture.
Please read and follow the directions for all of these tools and supplies! Also, if possible, prep, prime and paint outside.
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES FOR PREPPING FURNITURE
- Dust mask and/or respirator – A good idea for when you’re sanding or using a strong smelling primer.
- Safety goggles – To protect your eyes when sanding with a sander.
- Ear protection – To protect your ears while sanding with a sander.
- Canvas drop cloths – To protect the surfaces your painting on. You can also use old blankets and towels.
- Wood filler – Use wood filler to fill any holes or dents in your wood furniture.
- Putty knife – To apply the wood filler.
- 100 grit sandpaper sheets – I use a 100 grit sandpaper when I’m sanding areas that I can’t sand with my mouse sander. It’s a grittier sandpaper to use for the first sanding to roughen up the finish of the wood.
- 220 grit sandpaper sheets – I use a 220 grit sandpaper, (which is a finer grit sandpaper), when lightly sanding the furniture after it’s been primed.
- Mouse sander – I LOVE this palm sander. The mouse sander makes quick work of sanding. (Which is not my favorite part of painting furniture!) It comes with different grades of sandpaper, and it’s so easy to use. I have small hands, and it fits in my hand easily.
- Tack cloths – A must have for cleaning up the dust from sanding.
- TSP Liquid Substitute – This is a cleaner that removes any dirt or grease so that your paint finish will adhere better. You dilute it with water, and make sure to rinse it well with clean water.
- Blue painters tape – I use this if I have areas on the furniture that I don’t want painted.
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES FOR PRIMING & PAINTING FURNITURE
- Painter’s pyramids – These are great to raise up parts of your furniture. For instance, if you have doors on a hutch, you can take them off and lay them on the pyramids to make it easier to paint them.
- Alex Fast Dry paintable caulk – To fill in any cracks between pieces of wood that show up after priming.
- Caulk gun – To apply the caulk.
- Old rags – I use old rags when I’m applying the caulk to wipe my hands on. It’s a good idea to keep some around for any paint spills too.
- Plastic wrap – I use plastic wrap (like kitchen Saran Wrap) to wrap my paint brushes between coats of paint. It helps keep them from drying out. That way you don’t have to wash out your brushes between coats of paint.
- Oil-based primer that is stain-blocking– It’s always a good idea to apply an oil-based primer before painting your furniture. It will help block any stains and dark color (especially if you’re painting oak wood) from bleeding through your paint. it also will help your paint adhere better.
- Natural China-bristle paint brush – This is the type of paintbrush that I use when applying the oil-based primer.
- Paint –
- Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint – This is the latex paint that I first used for some of our furniture. It is a very durable paint, but it does take a long time to dry. Because it takes so long to dry, it levels itself and you end up with a very smooth finish on your furniture.
- Pittsburgh Paint’s Breakthrough paint – For most of my more recent projects, I’ve started using this latex Breakthrough paint. This stuff will stick to anything, and is very durable. The other plus to it is that it dries very quickly.
- Wooster Shortcut paintbrush – This is my go-to paintbrush for any project. I love it’s shorter, flexible handle. It’s so comfortable to use, even if you’re painting all day!
- ooster Big Green foam roller and handle – This is the roller that I like to use when I’m painting with the Benjamin Moore Advance paint. It doesn’t seem to work as well with the Breakthrough paint.
- Whizz 4″ roller and handle – When I use the Breakthrough paint, I like to use this roller to get a nice smooth finish. They can leve some fuzzy threads when painting, but I like to use a lint roller or masking tape on them to get the fuzzys off before painting. The Whizz rollers don’t seem to work as well with the Advance paint. (See below). Tip – always slightly dampen the roller before you start painting with it.
- MinWax Polycrylic – This is the finish I put on all of my furniture to help protect it. The polycrilic will not yellow over time like a polyurethane finish will. I like the satin finish. SEE VIDEO BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS.
- Mineral spirits – I use mineral spirits to clean my brushes and rollers that are used with the oil-based primer and the polycrylic.
I’ve created a video that shows my latest techniques for how to paint furniture using most of these tools. It’s a great beginner’s guide to painting furniture, and shows how I use the Pittsburgh Paints Breakthrough paint:
I’ve also created a video that shows how to apply polycrylic over paint:
WHEW! Congratulations, you made it through the whole post!
I hope you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to painting furniture tutorial!
Do you have any tools and supplies for painting furniture that you love?
More beginner’s guide to painting furniture: